It took me years to feel confident about making pie dough. I could work myself into a froth just thinking about all of the things that might go wrong. Should I use shortening, butter, a mixture of the two—and what about the elusive leaf lard? Must I add lemon juice, vinegar, or vodka? What if I add too much water, too little? Will I overwork the dough, or underwork it? Will the dough stick to the counter, to the rolling pin? How does one roll an even circle?
Over time I have answered all of these questions, and have developed this recipe that is flaky, buttery, salty and sweet. In other words, perfect. Pie is a wonderful dessert because you can make it all year round changing the filling with the seasons. Peach pie is one of my favorites. We all know that peaches are a summer fruit, but until recently I thought of rhubarb as a spring thing (technically a vegetable, but most often used as a fruit in this country.) When I saw rhubarb at the summer farmers market, I thought it would taste great with peaches. And, as I’ve mentioned before, I adore the color combination of orange and red in dessert. I thought I was so clever. It turns out that this was not an original idea!! Others, before me, have thought of this brilliant combination. However, instead of thickening the filling with flour or cornstarch, this pie is held together with a light custard, scented with cardamom, cinnamon, and vanilla. The only thing that keeps me from eating this pie all year long is the fleeting season of peaches. Some of the best peaches I’ve had were at their peak in August and September. Make this pie while you still can. It will be fall before you know it.
I like to fully bake the crust before filling. This keeps the crust from being doughy.